Artist Red Hong Yi is known for her work in unusual art mediums. Her latest work, 20,000 Seeds, is a giant portrait of famed political artist Ai Weiwei. And, as the title infers, it’s made from 20,000 expertly placed sunflower seeds.
Based in China, Red is inspired by her surroundings—she constantly scours wholesale markets for everyday objects to inspire her. Whether it be tea bags, chopsticks, or socks, Red’s use of these materials is an allusion to globalization and mass production found in China and Asia.
In the case of 20,000 Seeds the artist was inspired by Ai Weiwei’s quote, “the seed is a household object but at the same time it is a revolutionary symbol.” The Chinese contemporary artist and activist has long been a symbol for challenging political systems. Thus, he was a natural fit as Red searched for a project to give her solace in this time of political oddity.
“In light of all the political absurdity going on in the world, I created this piece for my sanity,” she tells My Modern Met via email. “This piece encourages people to have the bravery and courage to think and see clearly, and to protect freedom of expression.”